Clarks Summit, Pa.- A two week hiatus for the Lady Lions could have resulted in a rusty effort in the their first game since October 29, but the opposite was true on Friday when Hazleton traveled to face the NCAA Division III Defenders of Clarks Summit University. Hazleton's fresh legs resulted in a quick score just minutes after the opening whistle and if not for a pair of brief devensive lapses in the first half, Friday's result could have gone elsewhere. Two separate offensive spurts, led to a four goal swing that gave the Defenders a hefty 4-1 advantage at the break, but the Lady Lions' halftime adjustments paid dividends as Hazleton quickly got back on the board to start the final period. Hazleton trailed by two until the final three minutes of play, and in a last ditch effort to erase their deficit, surrendered a late Summit score leading to the final 5-2 result in favor of the Defenders.
Sophomore Katie Oldziejewskie (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) went on the attack early and in the fourth minute of play broke through the Defender backfield and converted on a one on one opportunity with the keeper, giving Hazleton 1-0 lead to start the game. But Hazleton's success would be short lived as Summit retaliated with two quick scores in the next seven minutes, the first of which coming off the foot of Haidi Depue, besting sophomore Julianne Ernest (Danville, Pa.) with a shot off the right post, followed by the go ahead score from Emily Howell. Howell and Depue would repeat that feat as the half neared its conclusion with another outbreak of offense beginning in the 35th minute of play. A well placed pass sprung Depue for her second score of the half and a 3-1 edge for Summit, then Depue returned the favor as she combined with Howell to give the Defenders 4-1 just nine minutes later. Oldziejewskie, made a valiant effort to keep the Lady Lions within reach, but was unable to find the mark on her final four shooting attempts of the half, leaving Hazleton trailing by three scores at the break.
Like the previous period, it was the Lady Lions who came out firing after the kickoff. This time, freshman Madison Polumbo (Hazleton, Pa.) found paydirt as she placed the perfect shot off a direct kick nearly 26 yards out, giving the Defender keeper no chance for a stop. With the once comfortable Summit lead now in jeopardy, the Lady Lions continued to press and outshot the home squad 6-2 over the next 30 minutes but failed to cut into the Defender lead. As the horn drew near and desperation time set in, Kennedy Perst took advantage of the Lady Lion forward attack, making a run on goal and adding a final insurance score for Summit in the 87th minute.
Heidi Depue led the Defenders with two scores on five shots on goal, adding an assist in the 44th minute. Goalkeeper Emily Reilly earned the win for Summit, saving five shots while allowing the two Hazleton scores.
Katie Oldziejewskie fired nine shots for the Lady Lions, connecting on her first attempt for her eighth goal of the season. Madison Polumbo added her second score of the season in the 49th minute, scoring once in three attempts, while netminder Julianne Ernest finished the game with 10 saves.
Hazleton will head back on the road on Tuesday, October 18 for a rematch with Penn State Schuylkill. On September 22, the second ranked team in the Penn State University Athletic Conference bested Hazleton in a close matchup 1-0 at Community Park and round two will likely offer just as much excitement. Kickoff scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in Schuylkill Haven.